Gloucester

Gloucester is a city in England. NatWest traces its heritage there back to 1834.

National Provincial Bank of England

NatWest's first branch in Gloucester originally opened as a branch of National Provincial Bank of England in 1834. Gloucester at this time was a manufacturing centre with extensive dockyards, and was known for its pin-making industry. The city was also home to a growing number of iron foundries producing agricultural and milling implements for the surrounding area. The population of Gloucester had been increasing steadily throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and by 1831 the city had over 14,000 inhabitants.

National Provincial Bank of England had been founded in London in September 1833. From the outset it intended to establish a nationwide network of branches, and Gloucester was to be its very first. The branch opened in King Street on 1 January 1834. It was an immediate success, and even though the traditional industries in the city began to decline in the middle part of the nineteenth century, the construction trades flourished. Following the coming of the railway to Gloucester in 1840, the city also became known for the manufacture of railway carriages.

By 1843 increasing demand for banking services in Gloucester meant that the branch had outgrown its original King Street premises. A new purpose-built branch building was erected in Westgate Street, completed in 1844. The branch’s business continued to grow rapidly throughout the nineteenth century, and in 1890 it relocated again to more spacious newly-constructed premises at 21 Eastgate Street. Gloucester continued to prosper in the early twentieth century, and by 1904 electric trams had replaced their horse-drawn predecessors.

The First World War brought staff shortages and controls on lending. Three members of the bank’s Gloucester branch staff lost their lives on active service.

In 1918 National Provincial Bank of England merged with Union of London & Smiths Bank to form one of the emerging ‘big five’ high street banks, later known as National Provincial Bank.

More branches

Other banks opened in Gloucester, including branches of the two banks that – along with National Provincial – went on to become founding constituents of National Westminster Bank. In 1920 London County Westminster & Parr’s Bank opened a branch in the town, and in 1956, District Bank’s Gloucester branch opened. District Bank was acquired by National Provincial in 1962, but continued to trade separately under its own name.

National Westminster Bank

In 1970 Westminster Bank, National Provincial Bank and its subsidiary District Bank merged to form National Westminster Bank. The new bank gradually consolidated its presence in places where it now had multiple offices, and in Gloucester this meant that in 1971 the businesses of both the old National Provincial and the old District Bank – both located on Eastgate Street – were combined into the premises at number 21, where they remain today.